A look ahead at 2017

Tech predictions for 2017: What I expect to happen

How well did I do predicting 2016, and what does next year look like? Let’s take a look.

Tech predictions for 2017

A look ahead at 2017

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Yes, it's that time of the year again. Where does the time go? Anyway, it's time for us in the news business to make our annual predictions for the coming year. Unlike some, I own up to my misfires by leading off with the predictions made a year ago and admitting what came true and what didn't. So let's get into that. 

How good were my 2016 predictions?

1. IBM becomes a major cloud player.
Not really. The most recent numbers, which covered Q2 of this year, put IBM at under 10 percent share. It's still an Amazon and Microsoft world. The good news is IBM grew 57 percent year over year, so it is making up for lost ground. 

2. The Dell-EMC merger will cripple the company if it goes through.
So far, not really. Dell EMC is coming out with some interesting products, and if the debt on the merger is hurting the company, they are keeping it quiet. Easy to do when you are a private firm. 

3. Election year politics will hit tech hard.
Yes, but not in the way I predicted. Fake news, blatant bias by Facebook news and the H-1B visa issue dominated the election.

4. Many web-based sites will be challenged by mobile.
As it turned out, the biggest site was LetGo. They've been running a lot of TV ads.

5. Abandoned tech will be revived.
No, not really. 4K DVD is out there, but it doesn't appear to be sparking a DVD revival.

6. Cloud leaders will flip from the new guard to the old guard.
That did happen. Microsoft grew into a cloud giant, and both IBM and Oracle continued to gain slow but steady ground.

7. The economic condition of San Francisco will reach a breaking point.
The issue hasn't made the news lately. Mostly it's the deplorable condition of the city that's the issue these days. 

8. SSDs will continue to displace hard drives.
Mostly true. Western Digital finally waded in with its first SSD drives, and these days everyone has a flash storage array, replacing the old 15k RPM drives. 

9. Antivirus software runs out of road.
Well, a Google researcher just made that point.

10. DevOps moves beyond just development.
Still has not happened.

So, more misses than hits. Not a good year for me. Let's see if I can do a little better this time around.

What to expect in 2017

1. Apple continues to lose its cool.
Removing components is not innovation, nor is abandoning product lines. Right now the company is iterating, not innovating. It needs something mindblowing real soon, or its coolness factor will continue to fade away.

2. Cloud adoption will slow.
A lot of people rushed into the cloud without thinking about it. Now, many are moving back to on-premises. This will cause other companies to slow their projects and be more deliberate about moving to the cloud, which is only a positive.

3. Some tech manufacturing will return to the U.S.
Donald Trump's browbeating will work only for a while. The economics just aren't there to justify a wholescale return to the U.S. but some companies will make a show of it—if only to shut him up.

4. China will lose its luster as a manufacturing hub.
NHK World, the English language version of Japan's top broadcast network, recently reported that many firms are leaving China because it's getting too expensive to operate there. Let that sink in for a moment. Manufacturing is moving to Vietnam and the Philippines.

5. IoT will continue to spin its wheels.
IoT still lacks a cohesive infrastructure and security model. It's a solution in search of a market—I have always said that. The public is still responding to the IoT pitch with, "Why do I need this again?"

6. AMD comes back big.
AMD will finally have a product competitive with Intel, and the OEMs will beat a path to its door simply so they are not beholden to one part supplier.

7. Augmented reality will grow faster than virtual reality.
There are more useful applications in AR, such as training and repair work with overlays showing how to perform a function or fix. VR is just something cool. Practicality always wins out.

8. Net neutrality will suffer setbacks.
While Donald Trump has not made any statements on net neutrality, he has allies who are opposed to it, including FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai, who could become the chairman of the group. The Verge believes he will undo the Obama Administration's changes and hand control back to major providers such as Comcast and Verizon. If that happens, expect Silicon Valley to really mobilize against him.

9. Windows 10 will continue to sell better to consumers.
The Net Applications numbers vs. Steam analytics continue to reflect that home users are adopting Windows 10 a lot faster than business users. Granted it's not a perfect comparison, but it's the best we’ve got—and Steam shows twice the market share for Windows 10 as Net Applications.

10. Amazon and Microsoft will continue to dominate the cloud.
Amazon has the complete package, and Microsoft has its legacy software in the cloud now. That's more than Google and IBM can manage. They will remain in single-digit market share territory.

Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

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